How Mobile Technology is Changing the Way We Communicate
A team of remote workers spread over 3 states and two countries are intently working on a project, sharing Skype screens to illustrate their progress since the last meeting.
Another cross-department team is staying up to date using text messages services and another is holding a video conference to share their input on the status of the new initiative.
Everyday there are more and more examples of how mobile technology is changing the way communication is happening in the workplace.
Workers develop relationships with team members they have never physically met and welcome the chance to work together again. Full-time employees blend seamlessly into a pool of contract employees to accomplish more and tap into different wells of skill and expertise.
Workers of all ages and backgrounds are becoming increasingly dependent on their mobile technology to talk to each other, to send in their status reports to managers, and to check facts and opinions with colleagues and mentors.
Apps like BoostHQ help teamwork move forward.
According to Gartner, 70 percent of American companies will name the provision of more mobile support to their employees as a top priority over the next year.
In many cases whole virtual desktops are moving from desktop and laptop computers onto mobile devices. The VMware Workspace Suite, for example, lets workers use their smartphones and tablets to tap into virtual work spaces.
For companies, this means that just one piece of technology can allow full access of all employees, whether they are in house or working from remote locations.
The implications of this type of technology available on mobile devices means that the goal of millions of workers, which is to be able to work from anywhere at any time using their own devices has become a reality.
Work is not a place you go to any longer; it is something that you do, and that sits well especially with the new millennial workforce.
For companies, it means that productivity can be ongoing, even if the worker is in an airport or their home office. It also means that the ability to train workers to a consistent level of expertise can easily be a reality, regardless of where they are.
Companies are adapting to this new means of communication by tossing out traditional training materials and creating new e-courses and training video packages that can be viewed on mobile devices. New attention is focused on ways that material can be searchable and accessed in smaller segments.
This growing ability to allow workers to communicate over time, distance, and place is reaching out into all aspects of how business operates.
For example, as communication with remote workers becomes seamless, these applications can impact other aspects of business, notably customer service.
It is also impacting production, where new ways are being found to connect workers with smart machines that are now automating a lot of the routine or dangerous tasks in the workplace.
Like all good things, however, this changing way we communicate at work can also have its downsides. Besides the cost involved in acquiring and maintaining the support technology, moving all communications to mobile devices exposes organizations to risks in the area of data security.
When confidential projects and support documents are being beamed across so many mobile devices, it gets tougher to keep control of the privacy of this information and how it is used.
On a psychological level, communicating solely across mobile devices creates a different kind of employee dynamic. Employees who chat in person tend to get to know each other at a deeper level as they begin to share personal details about themselves and their likes and dislikes.
Workers sharing work conversations tend to be far less personal and keep the conversation to the project at hand. While they do build respect for colleagues and even a comfort level of working consistently with a team of people they achieve success with, they do not build the same level of loyalty and understanding that they do from people they interact with personally.
However, as the trend continues, some companies are discovering that remote workers who engage in repeated mobile communications with each other often make an effort at some point to meet each other. In other cases, companies that see great team dynamics developing also have the option to make an occasional exception and bring the group together for a face-to-face meeting and tour of the corporate headquarters.